JeJu

Nom Nom Nom Wah

In food on 05/26/2011 at 5:56 pm

I’d been wanting to eat at Nom Wah Tea Parlour for awhile, but only got the opportunity a couple days ago. I remember strolling down Doyers Street in the past but never took a second glance at this place because it seemed dingy and down on its luck. Plus this street is known more for its happy endings than its food.

Thanks to its gorgeous website, I was eager to try the ‘new’ Nom Wah since it had been taken over three months ago by the next generation of the family. The young owner was hovering about while we were there, presiding over the facelift while preserving the original vintage look of the place. It is decidedly cozy and the coolest place I have ever eaten dim sum.

We’re suckers for old, used china and cutlery, and Nom Wah is chockful of it. The owner showed off some of his favorite pieces from the fifties, still in use. We oohed and ahhed appropriately. Not only is the food good, the tea is also not the usual sweaty sock diluted pu-erh that most places plop on the table. You can pick from a long list. It’s worth the $1 per person. They even have more fancy stuff for $4pp.

Here is a selection of the good eats:

The famous massive palm-sized almond cookie is displayed on the original soda fountain-esque counter, under a cake stand. It’s edible for a Chinese cookie; the crumb is a bit big.


I’ve never had this version of filled rice noodles, with fried dough, but it is pleasantly QQ and comforting. The other half fights me for the last piece.

Another unique dish, snowpea and shrimp dumplings. The other half enjoyed these immensely.  The snowpeas add a fresh spring flavor to the typical pork-heavy menu items. It’s a signature dish, like the shrimp and crab dumplings in green wrappers at Ping’s, the dim sum place we used to patronize.

There is one dud on the menu, the so-called soup dumpling. The tip-off was the bright red vinegar, then the smaller than usual morsels arrived. The key to good soup dumplings is the dichotomy of thinner than possible wrappers containing more ‘soup’ than it should be able to. It should look like a half-filled water balloon, sagging on the bottom from the soup spreading out on the bottom.

A surprisingly good example on par with the perfect ones at Nan Xiang Dumpling House in Flushing can be found at Shanghai Asian Manor, at the corner of Mott and Mosco Streets.  Beware eating anything but soup dumplings here though. My palate finds most any other Shanghai dishes rather bland, and suspiciously Cantonese.


When your belly gets filled by the food, take time to soak in all the ancient ambiance at Nom Wah, and don’t forget to check out the tiniest sink in the world in the bathroom. You can linger without being rushed during weekday dinner. The owner said it is crazy busy on Saturdays and Sundays though. But that’s when the cart ladies come out. I bet it’s the very image of Hong Kong in the early 20th century reincarnated then.

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